How-to: Dye Silk with Kool-aid to Make Washable Play Silks and Wearable Fabric

Dye Silk with Kool-Aid

put the wet silk into a microwave-safe container

After ten minutes, drain the liquid from the pot. At this point, there are a couple of ways to further heat-set the dye–you can do either, or one, or none:

The first option is to dump the soaking wet, vividly colored play silks straight into a microwave-safe container (if you don’t have a microwave, you can, of course, skip this step). I tend to use the same zip-top plastic bag over and over, but a lidded glass bowl will also do the trick nicely.Β Microwave the play silks for about two minutes to steam-set the dye.

The second option is to dump the soaking wet, vividly colored play silks straight into the clothes dryer, and dry them until they’re bone-dry to heat-set the dye.

When you’ve finished with one, or both, or none of these options, dump the dyed play silks (only one color at a time!) into your washing machine. Wash the play silks in hot water using your regular detergent (I use my homemade laundry soap, made with my homemade hot-process soap), with a second rinse and a good-sized glug of vinegar in the washer’s spot for the rinse aid.

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6 thoughts on “How-to: Dye Silk with Kool-aid to Make Washable Play Silks and Wearable Fabric”

  1. Actually, some nylon fabrics will dye with acid dyes as well. Vintage nylon, especially, but I have noticed that many nylon trims will take up food colors, although the color isn’t as brilliant as it is on silk.

      1. Yes, but then it wouldn’t be green or natural, would it? We tried this with silks from Dharma and they are fantastic, I can’t imagine nylon being anywhere near as satisfying. Red faded to a slightly lighter color, like the inside of a strawberry before it gets to the white. Purple is lighter than it looked in the pot but still quite nice, like lavender. We did 2 lemonades + 1 cherry and it made a lovely salmon color. Looking forward to doing more if I can find lemon-lime and blue moon berry!

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  3. the actual amount of kool-aid should be 1 packet to 1 oz of silk… I use the same process to hand dye wool yarn.

    You can also use eye droppers or sponge brushes to paint the ‘dye’ on the playsilk, the way you would dye a skien of yarn… You can also mix up the kool-aid, water, and vinegar in a microwave safe bowl, add the silk, and microwave for 2 minutes, let rest for 2 minutes, microwave for 2 minutes, let rest for 2 minutes, lather rinse repeat until the water is clear or mostly clear. (It will be hot, as will your playsilk at this point) dump in the sink and rinse in hot water, gradually cooling, until there is no dye coming out of them

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